Image courtesy of The Architectural Team

A 134-room hotel in Boston’s North End won approval from the Zoning Board of Appeal, a week after a state Land Court judge dismissed an abutter’s lawsuit challenging the $80 million project.

Cross Street Ventures plans to construct a five-story hotel on the former J. Pace grocery store property at 42 Cross St.

Representing the developers, attorney Johanna Schneider said the project will siphon business away from short-term rentals that have generated complaints in the North End.

“There is an Airbnb problem in this neighborhood, so we hope in addition to providing hotel rooms to support Boston’s growing hospitality industry, allowing a hotel at this location will relieve some of the pressure in the neighborhood,” Schneider told ZBA members at Monday’s hearing.

ZBA Chair Christine Araujo was skeptical, stating that a boutique hotel will fall into a different price category than Airbnb rentals.

“I’m not sure that’s a valid argument,” said Araujo, the lone board member to vote against the project.

Recently-elected District 1 City Councilor Gabriela Coletta said a hotel is preferable to other potential uses such as luxury condos.

“I cannot in good conscience justify the potential scenario of a small group of homeowners being the sole beneficiaries of the vistas that this site will provide,” Coletta said.

Cross Street Ventures received approval from the Boston Planning & Development Agency in March for the project, but the approval was conditioned upon ZBA approval of variances related to floor area ratio, rear setback and rooftop restaurant, and conditional use permits for the hotel and first-floor restaurant uses.

Following the BPDA approval, North End resident Mary Beth Sweeney filed suit in state Land Court challenging the project, arguing it exceeds zoning heights because of plans for a rooftop restaurant and will cast shadows and restrict air flow to her Stillman Street property.

Land Court Judge Howard Speicher dismissed the lawsuit on Aug. 16.

ZBA Approves 134-Room Hotel in North End

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min